Entire Saga fleet now globally BWT compliant

Adam Foster
Adam Foster

14 March 2017


Saga Shipholding has completed the installation of Optimarin Ballast Systems (OBS) throughout its entire fleet of 32 advanced open hatch cargo vessels. In doing so, Saga has become the world’s first shipowner to fit ballast water treatment (BWT) systems that are USCG compliant throughout a fleet of this magnitude. Saga originally chose BWT specialist Optimarin as its supplier of choice in 2011, installing its first system, on-board Saga Future in 2012. Since that point it has rolled the UV-based and environmentally friendly treatment units out across its fleet, signing the contract for the final installations last May (three 2000 m3 BWT units for newbuilds from Oshima Shipbuilding, Japan). “We’ve now enjoyed close to five years of reliable, simple and efficient BWT operation,” comments Nils Otto Bjorhovde, Saga Shipholding’s Hong Kong-based Technical Manager. “Saga prides itself on being a responsible shipowner and we understand that untreated ballast water is a major threat to marine biodiversity. With that in mind we took an early adopter position on BWT, thoroughly researching the segment for a market proven system that would be both effective and future proof in terms of compliance. That way we could deliver optimal value to all our stakeholders on this investment. “We always knew we’d made the right decision with Optimarin and that was proven when they became the first company to receive USCG approval in December. We’re a global shipping firm, so present and future global BWT compliance is an absolute must to ensure we can be as flexible as our customers’ demands. I’m very satisfied to say we now have that across our entire fleet.” The final installation was completed on the 47,000 dwt open hatch carrier Saga Viking during a scheduled docking in China. This vessel, along with the rest of the Saga fleet, operates with the primary purpose of transporting pulp from South America to markets in Europe and the Far East. Optimarin CEO Tore Andersen believes that, in addition to his firm’s compliant technology, teamwork is at the heart of the Saga success. “We’ve been focused on BWT for a very long time now,” he comments, “since we formed the business in Stavanger, Norway in 1994. So, we’ve spent more than 20 years perfecting the system, but also working alongside shipowners like Saga so we fully understand their individual needs and requirements. We see every customer as a partner and that, as shown in this case, is always the best foundation for a strong working relationship.” He continues: “We appreciate that shipowners want complete peace of mind with BWT – ranging from carefree installation, operation and maintenance, through to compliance with the most stringent global standards. That’s what they want, so that’s what we give them. There’s no one else in the market that can match us in that regard.” Optimarin’s system has employed the same proven technology since 2012, utilising 35kw UV lamps to eliminate all potentially invasive species carried in vessel ballast water. The firm is now set to become the first to install the necessary USCG software upgrade to existing systems – a process that will roll out throughout Saga’s fleet - ensuring on-going compliant operation for pre-installed units into the future. “This is a new sector, with new companies and new technology, but we are an established player with proven systems,” Andersen concludes. “By employing this simple upgrade we can ensure that existing systems, bought years ago, are still 100% compliant with the strictest standards in the world. That is the peace of mind Optimarin delivers.” Optimarin has now received orders for around 500 OBS systems, with more than 300 installed worldwide. Over 100 of these have been retrofits, delivered in conjunction with global engineering partners Goltens and Zeppelin Power Systems. Alongside approval from IMO and USCG, Optimarin’s technology is certified by a comprehensive range of classification organisations, including DNV GL, Lloyd’s, Bureau Veritas, MLIT Japan, and American Bureau of Shipping.